Do Your Chores

I’m sick and tired of these freeloaders hosing off us.  No job, they don’t pay rent, their food is served to them and their clothes are washed and folded.  Heck, they don’t even BATHE themselves.  Sweet life, huh?  They literally have to do nothing to earn their keep but be cute every once in a while, and even that’s not mandatory.  I’m insanely jealous.  They fight with each other, they just chuck their dirty underwear wherever they see fit, and they whine an awful lot.  Sure, they’ve got a lot going for them – they can be sweet, they make me laugh, and they make for a great excuse to watch G rated digital animation – but that can only take them so far.

There comes a time in every child’s life when they have to start earning their keep.  For my kids, that time is now.  They now must do chores, or face the consequences (no reward at the end of the week and a look of grave disappointment from their mother).  Dun dun duuuuun.

They’re 3.5 and 6, which is old enough for some simple tasks that help the household run, teach them responsibility, earn them a sense of pride through accomplishment, and allow them to feel as though they contribute.  And, because they’re 3.5 and 6 and I’m not an idiot, if that isn’t motivation enough, a small reward at the end of the week surely is.

You’ll notice these are mostly completely GHETTO fabulous.  Sharpie on a piece of the kids’ construction paper, tracked with their alphabet magnets.  You’d never know I’d spent hours researching different ideas found on Pinterest.




Most of what they are assigned is the same as each other – dishes on the counter, put shoes away, wash toothpaste down the sink, flush the toilet EVERY TIME.  Just little things that we as adults do (or SHOULD do) without thinking, but that can be frustrating if they’re not done.  They must tidy their own rooms, but I’ve told them to just worry about the toys.  I’ll do their beds (mostly because I don’t have the PATIENCE to teach a 3 year old how to make a bed) and put away their clothes (because an unorganized and disheveled drawer drives me NANNERS).

Then there are a few things that are unique.  Avery’s weekday job is to feed Bosco his dinner and Eirinn’s weekday job is to help set the table.  Avery’s weekend jobs are to put away the groceries that go in the cupboard and to dust the living room.  Eirinn must put away the groceries in the fridge and wipe down the kitchen table.

And then, at the end of the week, if they’ve done all their weekday chores and all their weekend chores, I’ll get them a reward.  Something very small, like a candy bar or a colouring book, that will serve as motivation.  Like I said, it’s pretty hard to convince someone who is barely out of toddler age that “responsibility and contributing to the functionality of the household” is reason enough to flush their poop.  You may say it’s teaching them all the wrong things, that they should be doing these things because they’re told or because learning these chores is simply a part of growing up, but let’s start out with some realism.  Would anyone work without some sort of personal motivation?  That’s basically what a paycheck is, right grownups?

We’re two full days in and it’s going swimmingly (yes, I just said that) and if I know anything, it’s that kids are completely predictable, so if it’s worked for two days, we’re set for life.  …  I don’t know.  Maybe it will stick, maybe it won’t, but what I do know is that I’m sick of picking up their tiny Barbie shoes and they can do that crap themselves.  If I have to buy them a dollar store book for a week off of clean up duty, that’s money well spent.


10 thoughts on “Do Your Chores

  1. LOL at Flush toilet every time! I need to make an official chore chart, too. My kids are 7 & 9. That’s old enough to make dinner every night, right?

  2. Hear, hear! I tried this once, and at 2 days your project is wildly successful compared to mine. But you’re so right, and with my kids now 7and 10 it’s nothing short of embarrassing that I still have to double check that they washed the toothpaste down, or twist my ankle on a pile of monster high dolls when I tuck my dtr in at night. Let this be a warning kids: your freeloading days are numbered!

  3. we have a chore sticker chart that worked fabulously at first, but we all got bored of it quick. and then this morning, while i ran around all sweaty in my bathrobe making lucy’s lunch, packing her mailbag while she sat in the office playing seasame street online, i SNAPPED. enough, i told her. get off your duff and pack your bag. find you reader books. help the family. kid didn’t know what hit her. but we are in for some big changes at chez mcdougall foster, as the balls of my feet can’t take any more babie shoe impairments. great timing on this!

    • My hope is that if they repeat these few chores over and over, they’ll just become habit. I realize this may be an unrealistic hope, but we’ll see.

      Maybe to help with the boredom, you could switch up the chores weekly or even daily. Or give them options – today you can either dust the living room, OR set the table for dinner. Or make it more interesting than what I’ve done, like having a bucket of chores that are worth points and they can pick. More difficult chores are worth more points and easier are worth less. They add up what they’ve earned at the end of the week and they get something for it. Maybe let them know at the beginning of the week what they can get depending on what they earn, so they know what they’re working towards.

  4. Sadly I walked into the bathroom a couple years ago and found a floater left by my 12-year-old daughter. Not sure what I did wrong….

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